Crowe has assembled some top-drawer ephemera -- old show posters, home movies, and candid backstage footage -- but he overestimates his audience's patience for present-day talking-head interviews.
With its intimacy and (this can't be emphasized enough) fantastic sound, Pearl Jam Twenty is like two hours spent rediscovering the band through excellent headphones.
| Original Score: 3/4
If only it was about something other than rockers almost irked they got famous.
| Original Score: 2/5
In a better film, Crowe would have played journalist instead of fan boy.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
By the time "Pearl Jam Twenty" is over we can't help but be impressed by the kind of personal and professional integrity that has kept the band honest and allowed them to endure and prosper.
| Original Score: 3/5
While the movie may not have the insight of D. A. Pennebaker's "Don't Look Back" or even Phil Joanou's U2 travelogue, "Rattle and Hum," Pearl Jam devotees will not go home musically unnourished.
If Pearl Jam Twenty has its share of hyperbole, it's leavened with humor, self-deprecating commentary, and a deep-pockets budget's worth of great clips.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
What makes Pearl Jam Twenty a little better than the average fan-friendly documentary is that Crowe focuses on the more significant parts of the Pearl Jam story.
| Original Score: B
Cameron Crowe's chronicle of the Seattle grunge quintet's first two decades is undeniably thorough - even offshoot Temple of the Dog gets the spotlight - but it's also weirdly self-aggrandizing.
| Original Score: 2/4
Perhaps Pearl Jam's arc too closely resembles Crowe's own, and he can't see what's so uniquely poignant about dimmed but enduring stars.
Any enterprise like this is inherently self-congratulatory, but the film is best considered from Crowe's perspective: that of a fan.
PJ is far from the key band of its moment (and where's that movie?), resulting in a doc that feels padded.